Loving's Love: A Black American's Experience in Aviation (PB) (2023)

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The uplifting autobiography of a remarkable aviator who was the first African American and first double amputee licensed as a racing pilot

In 1926, a young Neal Loving saw a de Havilland DH-4 biplane that propelled his dreams of taking to the sky. Loving's Love is the inspiring autobiography about his journey to get there. Only a recent high school graduate when he built his first full-size flying machine at a time when most flying schools, airports, and aviation jobs excluded African Americans, Loving went on to design and fly five aircraft, open an aviation school, and become the first African American to be licensed as a racing pilot.

Loving faced no small number of obstacles. Barred by racist gatekeeping from serving in the Civil Air Patrol during World War II, Loving and a friend created an all-Black squadron to serve their country. And despite undergoing a double leg amputation after a glider crash, Loving shares his story with unflinching optimism. He got fitted with wooden prosthetic legs and was back to flying just two years after his accident. The book offers readers an intimate and engaging look at Loving's career, with a focus on his WR-1 Loving's Love, a single seat, midget racer he built in 1950 that won him the 1954 Most Outstanding Design award from the Experimental Aircraft Association.

At 40 years old, Loving enrolled as an aeronautical engineering student and after graduating spent the next 20 years as a civilian specialist for the Air Force. After retiring, he continued flying for almost a decade. Neal Loving experienced a lifetime of thrills and challenges, and Loving's Love captures the candid life story of a courageous man who defied the odds again and again.


Neal V. Loving
ISBN 10:
Smithsonian Books
Publication Date:
February 7, 2023

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